By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express
An Oshawa man is fuming at what he calls a severely delayed response by ambulance to a woman who fell in downtown.
According to resident Raymond Fortune, on Saturday, Feb. 23, he witnessed a 68-year-old woman take a fall while walking on Adelaide Street in Oshawa.
After helping the woman up, Fortune says she pleaded with him to call an ambulance.
At 1:36 p.m., Fortune made his first call to 911 and was told an ambulance would arrive in five to 10 minutes.
During the wait, Fortune says he attempted to keep the woman comfortable and alert, asking her questions and checking on her pulse.
At 1:51 p.m., he called back, wanting to know the status of the arrival of paramedics.
“I said it was kind of ridiculous,” he told The Oshawa Express.
Fortune says the 911 communicator apologized and said the ambulance had to be redirected to a “life-threatening situation,” and would arrive shortly.
Soon after, Fortune claims an EMS employee driving a “command supervisor” vehicle stopped at an intersection near him and the woman.
He alleges he “made eye contact” with the driver, and the woman was waving him over for help.
“He had been driving eastbound on Adelaide. I made pure eye contact with him, and he just kept on driving,” Fortune says.
Fortune made one last call to 911 at 2:04 p.m., and then paramedics arrived at 2:08 p.m.
When the ambulance left for Lakeridge Health Oshawa, Fortune says it had been 43 minutes since he first called 911.
He believes the woman suffered a broken hip and dislocated arm, although he says he’s been unable to get an update due to privacy reasons. He says her first name was either “Peggy” or “Patty.”
“I’d love to find out who she was. I’d love to give her some flowers,” he says.
The situation has left Fortune unsettled.
“I dread the fact another senior is going to endure the same thing. This is unacceptable,” he said.
Fortune created a Facebook Live video to document the episode, tagging Mayor Dan Carter and all Oshawa city councillors in it.
He said he did this so others could be aware of the situation as it happened.
He told The Express as of a few days after the incident, only Ward 4 regional councillor Rick Kerr had reached out to him.
Glendene Collins, a spokesperson for the Durham Region Health Department, said when Fortune’s call came, it was triaged “as a non-life threatening situation.”
During the timeline of the situation, Collins said paramedics en route to the scene were redirected to calls that were considered “life-threatening.”
Collins said dispatch officials indicated the caller [Fortune] said the woman’s condition had not changed, and therefore it was still considered non-life threatening.
She also noted Paramedic Services was not experiencing a Code 3 delay at the time of the call, which essentially means there are not enough paramedic staff and resources available to deal with call loads at any given period.